Well, there is a least one good thing that came from the ice storm, during the city council meeting last night, Finance Director, Tracy Turbak admitted that we will ‘probably’ be getting FEMA money, after the State and FEMA evaluate the city’s expenses associated with the cleanup. But we probably won’t be compensated until 2014.
So please, let’s drop it.
If you watch last night’s meeting what stuck out was how much money went towards ‘private contractors’ (DOC: ICESTORM )
Out of the $9 million total cost of cleanup, $6.2 million went to hire private contractors. City Personnel costs were only $1.1 million. This kind of surprised me, because if you were following our local media, listening to the mayor or city council, they were throwing out Kudos to city employees and volunteers like root beer candies at a Fourth of July parade.
Sure, there was a ‘mention’ of private contractors ‘helping out’ but not to this extent. Two-Thirds of the total cost went towards them.
On a positive note, that is REAL economic impact. Unfortunately many of the contractors were from out of state, and that money won’t be recirculated into our community.
But one wonders how much of this money made some local contractors very rich, very quick?
No doubt, the city could not have cleaned up this storm on their own, and independent contractors were needed, but I think in the future there should be a constingency plan put in place for such emergencies to make sure contractors are not gouging tax payers or individual property owners.
Without a doubt the city with the help of the private contractors did a fine job of cleaning up our city so quickly, but why do I feel like the ‘cleanup’ took us to the ‘cleaners’?
We don’t want to take money from FEMA because they are the big bad Feds (who we actually pay taxes to, so we are essentially taking money from OURSELVES to fix a problem WE have).
Then we find out we don’t need to take the money because the city is in ‘fine financial shape’ so we pay for this branch cleanup out of the city coffers (also our money).
Factor in that the city has saved millions this winter due to the lack of snow and snow removal (somewhere around $7 million).
So why hasn’t the city been budgeting for tree trimming all along? We apparently have the money to do the ENTIRE city at one fast blast, why not section it off over a 5 year cycle?
Funny how the city conveniently ‘doesn’t have the money’ in a normal budget cycle, but when a natural disaster occurs we have all kinds of cashola, enough to give the FEDS a middle finger and to cleanup the whole kit and kaboodle.
My suggestion is to implement a program every year to trim the trees in the boulevard, because, you know, like, we have the money. Oh, yeah, and F’CK the Feds who wants their (our) money anyhoo?
Once the flood-control measures are in place, probably by the end of next year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will redo its flood-plain maps and. In turn, fewer properties will be in the flood plain – saving money for property owners.
“Walmart, Sam’s Club, The Empire Mall, Target are some of the businesses” that will be taken out of the flood plain, said project manager Tom Berkland.
Instead of worrying about the 1% chance that Walfart might get flooded we should have been more concerned about all the poopy in people’s basements. And isn’t that the crux of it all? While we received record rains, besides a little street flooding, no where along the river (within Sioux Falls) there was flooding. Imagine that!?
The situation in Haiti is only going to get worse as time goes on. Respiratory illness and infection will kill more people in the coming weeks than the earthquake did.
Take a second away from drinking your morning starbucks & bottled water while reading this stupid blog on your fancy computer which runs on the electricity you take for granted, whip your phone out and text ‘HAITI’ to 90999. This will tack a much needed $10 onto your next wireless bill as a donation to the Red Cross. You might have to share a meal next time you eat out at the Texas Roadhouse instead of getting your own texas toothpicks. But it will taste better, trust me.
As South DaCola reported last week, the Sioux Falls city council is considering a resolution that would designate our city in general distress so we can get a $2 million dollar discount. While I think it is real swell the Feds want to give us some of OUR money back I still think it is a load of crap that we are paying for the levy bonds to begin with. The FEDS created the floodplain and the FEDS own the floodplain, so who should be pay for fixing the problem? THE FEDS! I really think we put ourselves in a bad position by giving into the feds and agreeing to pay for their project. Our local tax dollars should be used on community infrastructure not on federal infrastructure. We pay federal income taxes for that stuff. Now we are agreeing to be considered a ‘recovery zone’. How will corporations considering moving here look at that designation? I guess time will only tell.
Now to the article. I’ll have to give props to Ellis on this article, he wrote what I was thinking;
For months, Sioux Falls officials have talked about how the economy here is better than in most other cities across the country.
They acknowledge that sales tax revenues are down, but officials point out that they have ample reserves to meet the city’s obligations. And while building permits haven’t matched the boom days of 2006 and 2007, officials are quick to point out that building activity here is more robust than in similar cities.
Can you say ‘Hypocrisy’?
And bravo to councilor Staggers for using the ‘L’ word when it comes to this hypocrisy;
City Councilor Kermit Staggers calls the resolution “a lie.”
“Our situation in Sioux Falls is not the best, but it’s certainly not how it’s described in this resolution,” Staggers said. “I’m concerned about the veracity of this.”
Councilors Litz and Staggers had a protest vote against FEMA’s floodplain maps at Monday night’s council meeting, they knew it would pass without their votes but were basically telling Washington they didn’t approve of the way this matter was handled. The city was forced to accept this map. I sent this email to Staggers and Litz shortly after the vote, Litz was the only one to respond, I found what he had to say, interesting to say the least;
I applaud you and councilor Litz for voting against the floodplain map, I have been saying all along it is bogus (or something like that).
Scott L. Ehrisman
LITZ: One federal agency , the Corps is told by another federal agency FEMA they didn’t get the job done so if your house is insured in part by another federal agency HUD you must buy insurance from another federal agency. Kafka couldn’t have done it better. The trouble is the comedy of errors involves real peoples money…..blitz
ME: I do understand that the council had to vote for this (forced) but I still wish there would have been more vocal protest. I will have to say, that for once I am not disappointed in city government on this one, I am disappointed in our Washington delegation in not doing more, your hands were tied.
Good luck, Scott
LITZ: We are powerless against our Federal Government…blitz
ME: Really? Dissent is a powerful thing. It created this country.
Sioux Falls officials are moving ahead with plans to issue bonds for a major flood control project, two months after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to fund its share of the project.
This is silly for many reasons. 1) The levees are Federal property and the responsibility of the Federal government not the city of Sioux Falls. 2) FEMA, a Federal agency, created this bogus floodplain, they should be responsible for fixing it 3) Only 11% of the Federal stimulus has been distributed. Who knows, we may still get the money.
The amount of the bond is calculated at $29.4 million, which would include the Corps’ share as well as about $12 million for the city to reconstruct the 41st Street Bridge. It could be the last major bond issue for Mayor Dave Munson, who leaves office next year.
Yes, as a city we are responsible for fixing the bridge, the bike trails and landscaping, but that’s it. But there is more to the story;
The bonds were sold competitively and garnered five bids. The winning bid had a 4.13 interest rate on the life of the bonds – much lower than officials expected. The difference between the low bid and high bid amounted to $1.4 million in interest costs.
Hmmmm. 4.13% interest rate? Boy I wish I could get that for my mortgage. Kind of sounds like the hub-bub about our tax petition drive affecting interest rates for bonds was COMPLETE BULLSHIT! Just another fear and smear tactic by the misleader in Chief, King Dave.
The success of Tuesday’s bond, as well as the potential for low borrowing costs on the upcoming flood control bonds, rests in part with the high credit rating issued to the city by Moody’s Investors Service, a credit rating agency.
In a report issued Monday, Moody’s indicated that Sioux Falls is likely to “continue solid growth over the long run after emerging from its mild recession, fueled by above-average population growth,” low business taxes and “high-wage employment opportunities.” The report noted that unemployment remains low when compared to the national level.
Don’t you mean NO BUSINESS TAXES and LOW-WAGE opportunities? Apparently Schwan is working her magic with Moody’s to. But I found this next piece of info interesting;
“Restructuring of John Morrell’s operations nationally is a risk,” the report said, as well as uncertainties in the city’s financial services industry.
Gee, haven’t heard anything from City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce or the Development Foundation about how they are going to try to keep JM’s here. Typical of supposed leaders in our community, “Just ignore the problem and it will go away.”
Jessica Cameron, a senior management consultant with The PFM Group in Minneapolis said, “Sioux Falls is considered by the rating agencies to be very vibrant.”
Cameron, who is serving as the city’s financial adviser, said there hasn’t been a date set for the flood control bonds.
Well Jessica ‘too good to drive to Sioux Falls so I take a plane on taxpayer’s dime everytime I come here’ Cameron, isn’t it your job to promote vibrancy in our city? Isn’t that what we pay you for? And while we are on that subject, why do we need to pay a financial advisor when we have 22 people working in our finance office?
Officials are eager to get started. But before they can, the Corps must sign an agreement that allows Sioux Falls to advance it money, Public Works Director Mark Cotter said. That agreement, after making the rounds at various offices, is at Corps headquarters in Washington.
“They have up to 60 days to review it,” Cotter said. “We’re hoping to cut that down to two weeks if they’ll do it.”
No, let’s hope they decide to fix what they own with their money, not ours.
Sam Trebilcock, a city transportation planner, said the trail will close from 49th Street to the dam just north of where the river and creek meet northeast of 26th Street for a city flood control project to raise the levees by 5 feet and build a dam.
“You know very well what happens in the news if we don’t do that,” Trebilcock said. “Grand Forks happens. What happened in huge catastrophic (quantities) in New Orleans happens if you don’t have a good levee system.”
First off, Sammy, Sioux Falls isn’t a soup bowl sitting below sea level. In fact you and I both know the real reason why the levees are getting built; an overly paranoid FEMA after Katrina started running around the country like a chicken with their heads cut off. Secondly, several studies have shown Sioux Falls is experiencing a moderate drought, and everyone knows we have low water tables here. I find it ironic that the same city that is begging the Feds for money to build the Lewis and Clark water pipeline (That we have borrowed millions to build, well because, we don’t have much water in Sioux Falls) would be going to the same Feds to ask for money for our levees.
Does Sioux Falls have the potential to flood? Sure, and precautions should be taken, but don’t act like it is the end of the world and cut the crap.